Ascentis Logo
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Ascentis HR has been in business much longer than indicated on their company webpage. EBS OnLine, a California payroll company, started them in 1980. The organization thrived with its focus on customer service and real-time payroll. The Ascentis HR brand name was created in 1994, a human resources firm that helped small and medium businesses with their HR solutions. EBS OnLine and Ascentis joined forces in 2005, creating a fully integrated business solution that included HRIS, payroll, and several add-on modules. We found that Ascentis continues to grow as a business. In 2014, they acquired Starfield, filling out the talent management capabilities of their HR solutions. They are now poised to offer one of the most broad and robust HR solutions within the SMB marketplace.  

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The Good

  • Customer service approach
  • Standard products
  • Custom APIs
  • Modules
We noticed that Ascentis has grown over the years to better serve their customers. We saw that customer service approach in their streamlined app module suite for SMB HR solutions. We also liked the fact that Ascentis gave customer multiple options for expanding their solutions. While Ascentis didn't have that many third-party app integrations available, we did find the following "standard" products that Ascentis works well with:
  • Sage 300 ERP
  • ADP Pay eXpert
  • ADP PC/Payroll
  • Millennium 3
  • Microsoft Dynamics SL
What Ascentis doesn't have available, they let you build your own or they build it for you. If you want to build your own custom API, there is a manual available on their developer website that lets you get all the necessary code. If you don't have a development team, Ascentis has a three-tiered development solution that makes a custom API interface for you. Here is how their process works:
  • Reviewing your data import specifications.
  • Making sure that your data moves between your HR application and other application correctly.
  • Ensuring that your API meets Ascentis's stringent datacenter compliance regulations.
Here are the various things that we liked about the many modules that come with Ascentis: HRIS This module has over 300 standard reports that let you see information on:
  • Attendance
  • Benefits
  • Compensation
  • Review and Bonuses
  • Personal employee history
  • COBRA and ACA benefits
  • Employment reports.
  • OSHA and EOE compliance.
  • Other features.
The HRIS includes full onboarding capabilities for your new hires. We liked that candidates can be sent a first day of work, email, login and password to a site that lets them complete their paperwork. They will also see an employment manual. If you want your employee to watch a video or complete an assessment, this feature is also built into the HRIS. You can even document key cards, computer equipment, uniforms, and cell phones to make sure that your organization keeps track of your employee's new equipment. Payroll: Ascentis Payroll includes tax filing services, compensation, deductions, direct deposit, and more. We liked the direct deposit features:
  • Peace of mind with immediate pay availability.
  • No costly, labor-intensive paper checks.
  • No mailing of paychecks.
  • Never worry about lost or stolen checks.
  • Don't worry about stop payments and reissue hassles.
We also liked the frequent updates from Ascentis that ensure compliance with taxes, deductions, and your benefits. Talent Management: We liked the fact that the Ascentis Talent Management module let you streamlined your team development and empower your managers. Ascentis Talent Management includes a learning management system, which lets you train employees on an in-house, hosted system. Employees can easily unlock their next level of achievement with self-directed training. The training in Ascentis Talent Management is truly powerful. We found:
  • Support for all training types, including instruct0r-based, in person classes, on the job training, and more.
  • SCORM and AICC compliancy.
  • Automated course assignment and enrollment.
  • Class ratings, to determine the efficacy of your employees' training.
  • The power to do "pretend" phone role playing.
We also liked the fact that Ascentis does not require a consultation for you to see demonstrations of the various modules in their proprietary HR platform. There was also another app called Ascentis Timekeeper. We found that this was basically a giant "batch manager" that runs in the background of your payroll and scheduling solutions. It essentially aggregates your benefit hour, holiday, and auto salary pay accrual for your organization. Also, getting your implementation up and running can be a complicated task. We found that Ascentis experts will work with your organization on:
  • Installation
  • Data importation and conversion
  • Customization
  • Benefits setup
  • Payroll, time, and attendance structure
  • The best self-service for your employees.
  • And much, much more.
With the customer service available through Ascentis, we felt that this company offers one of the best HR solutions within the industry.
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The Bad

  • Implementations
  • Lack of integrations
  • Pricing transparency
We did have a few concerns with Ascentis. We found that they are a little "slow" sometimes with implementations. With some of the other products in the industry we reviewed, such as Zenefits, we found that implementation of certain functions could happen quickly. With Ascentis, we found that complex, full implementations for businesses could take up to six months. Another issue we had with Ascentis was the lack of software integrations from third-party reviewers. With other companies in the industry, such as ICIMS, we were astonished with the high number of easily integrated third-party apps. Ascentis only lets you add up to five apps from Sage, ADP, and Microsoft. We were also concerned by the lack of prices without a consultation. With other providers in the industry, we were able to get prices pretty easily, especially with ICIMS and Staff Squared. Even with Sage, we were able to get prices for the different modules available.
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The Bottom Line

We do recommend Ascentis for small and medium-sized businesses. We appreciated their online demonstrations, without the need for scheduling an unneeded consultation. We did like the custom API and Ascentis-generated API solutions, but overall, we wanted more software integrations for businesses that work with some of the major trending platforms in the industry. Essentially, Ascentis lets you eliminate bulky paperwork, process your payroll faster, and get your employees hired and onboarded faster.
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